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Manly forward Corey Waddell.

Manly back-rower Corey Waddell doesn't want the reputation of being a dirty player.

That's one of the reasons he put his hand up straight away and took the two-match suspension for head-butting Panthers forward Liam Martin in round 12.

To be fair, Martin's initial tackle on Waddell did draw a penalty from referee Ben Cummins. But then Waddell retaliated.

"I copped a bit of flak from it," the 22-year-old former Panthers junior said.

"I guess if you did it reserve grade not as many people would have seen it. But there are plenty of eyes on the NRL.

"Still it's no excuse. Looking back on it now I wouldn't have done it. The emotions were flying high in that game, against my old club, it was just a brain snap.

"It was a dangerous tackle and I just got up and was a bit too angry about it, and let the emotion get the better of me. Lesson learned there.

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"That's not how I want to play the game and that's not how I want to be portrayed.

"It was a mistake and I won't forget it."

Facing Parramatta on Sunday at Lottoland will be Waddell's third game back after the suspension.

The 21-20 loss to the Rabbitohs last round kept the Sea Eagles out of the top-four.

 "That's why the weekend loss was so crucial for us. A win there would have got us up there," Waddell said.

"We played really good footy in stages and some not so good footy in stages.

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"If we had our time again we'd fix things more quickly in that first half. By the time we turned it around in the second it was a little too late.

"We're playing at home so that should really help us with the support we get at Lottoland."

The other factor in Manly's favour is virtually a full-strength squad apart from hooker Api Koroisau's syndesmosis injury.

"We're pretty lucky after Origin with no real concerns there. We still don't have Api but we're near enough to full-strength so that gives us a lot of confidence because everyone knows the structures."

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